Why are you here? Most likely, it’s because the title intrigued you, and promised to meet your need — without explaining exactly how.
So, what makes one blog post title more effective than another? And what are the keys to crafting winning blog post titles that inspire readers to invest their time in the content you’ve created?
Simply put, “outstanding blog titles promise the reader value in a way that’s both unique and specific,” says Zach Watson, Content Manager at Soundstripe.
But how important are blog titles, really?
To Click or Not to Click: Why Blog Post Titles Matter
With two- to four-million blog posts published every day, and the top three Google search results commanding 75.1% of all clicks, the job of the content creator is to decipher how to cut through the noise.
In short, the answer is mastering the art and science of the blog post title.
“The title is the most important part of any blog post,” says Allan Borch, founder of Dotcom Dollar. “It catches the reader’s attention and reels [them] in.”
For Emma-Jane Shaw, director of content for Uku Inbound, this means “spend[ing] time iterating them until you’ve exhausted the variations.” Often, she tells us, “the best one is number 15 on the list, which you would never have thought of if you hadn’t spent time creatively brainstorming.”
The writers at Upworthy know this better than anyone; the popular website famous for the virality of its stories has made titles the top priority for its writers.
So, how can a title make your blog post go viral, instead of gathering dust?
We’ve developed a list of top tips for writing winning blog post titles, based on the advice of a wide range of content marketing experts.
7 Keys to Crafting Blog Post Titles that Convert
1. Speak to a specific audience and pain point (or problem)
“A blog post title should invoke a worry that a lot of the targeted readers would have… By engaging with readers about common problems that they may have, they are more inclined to read the article and share.”
– Raj Dosanjh, Founder, Rent Round
“Frame it around the specific need that you are addressing for your target audience. To do this, start with the result your content is going to help the reader achieve and then craft the title around that core outcome.”
– Drew Wilkinson, Copywriter, SimpleTexting
2. Be alluring and informative, but don’t give away the punchline
“An effective blog post title not only describes what's behind the click, but makes an enticing promise to the reader.”
– Edwin Contreras, Founder, Do Six Figures
“The perfect title provides the reader with just enough information to pique their interest but leaves out some information that encourages them to read the article to learn more; it’s a balance between being informative and mysterious.”
– Caroline Linne, Media Relations Lead, The Blueprint by the Motley Fool
3. Incorporate your keyword without sacrificing emotion
“The most effective post titles are those that catch the attention of readers with a promise to solve their problem while also being SEO friendly. It can be difficult to balance… but you can definitely achieve both by including a compelling hook to draw readers in.”
– Anna Barker, Founder, LogicalDollar
“A good blog post title is one that includes a keyword you are targeting and has appeal to your audience's emotional need for a solution to their challenge. Including a keyword will help your blog post be found on Google, and using an emotional appeal in the title will encourage your audience to actually visit your post.”
– Emily Carroll, Marketing Coordinator, Drive Research
4. Keep your titles short and simple
“On top of keeping blog titles catchy and succinct, you should also keep them less than 60 characters, when possible. One of the most effective ways to generate traffic to a blog for B2B businesses is from SEO — and Google tends to truncate [longer] titles.”
– Hung Nguyen, Marketing Manager, Smallpdf
5. Ask a question or use a number
“Ask a question (especially one that you know is getting decent search volume). If you have a listicle, or any kind of blog that includes numbered text within it, put the number in the title (e.g., ‘25 Tips for Writing Amazing Blog Posts’). For this, you’ll want to see what the competitors (aka pages ranking on page 1) are putting and see if you’re able to get the same number they provide or even more.”
– Katie Bonadies, Content & Social Media Strategist, Berxi
6. Include a call to action — and make sure it matches the content
“Motivational headlines with strong call to action words do really well. The message should be clear, honest, empower and inspire the business owner to take action. The blog post itself should be an extension of the title and keep in line with the initial sentiments.”
– Cory Varga, Co-Founder, Yuzu Metrix
7. Rely on a formula that works
“A good blog post title follows a formula: Problem + Emotion + Qualifier. The problem tells the reader what you’re going to help them with, the emotion speaks to the way the problem makes them feel and the qualifier gives the title some exclusivity.”
– Marybeth Santos, Community Manager, Odd Noodle
“I prefer to use a formula that delivers a Quantity of what you get (e.g., Tips, Resources, Videos, etc), plus an Emotional Trigger that delivers why the reader should click on it while combining the target keyword. As a formula, you could write it as [Quantity] + [Emotional Trigger] + [Resource Type] + [Target Keyword]. One example of this can be found on one of our most successful blogs, 7 Job-Saving Reasons Why You Should Implement a CPQ Before an ERP.”
– Wes Marsh, Director of Marketing, BCA Technologies
Beyond the Title
At Simple Strat we believe blog post titles should be informative but concise, include your target keyword, be aligned with the search intent behind the keyword query, and pique the interest of your target audience without crossing over into clickbait territory.
Of course, we also believe that your title is merely the means by which you attract readers to your content. It deserves a lot of time and attention, but your content must then achieve its purpose of fulfilling the promise of your title, engaging your audience, adding value, and inspiring them to take appropriate action.